Stephen Curry is the greatest pure shooter of this generation. Klay Thompson somehow remains underrated as an all-around player. Kevin Durant is a former NBA MVP. All three of these men are key cogs to the Golden State Warriors, but the man who drives the engine — the real MVP of this team — is Draymond Green.
This was readily apparent on Sunday as the Warriors hosted the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a game that saw CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard go off for a combined 75 points — aka: 68.8 percent of the total points scored by the Blazers — it was Golden State’s defense that proved the biggest difference in the contest. A contest that was tied up at 56 apiece at the half and 88 apiece at the end of three quarters.
Then Green simply took the game over with a dominant effort in the fourth quarter.
Warriors' Draymond Green blocks Blazers' Damian Lillard pic.twitter.com/kxrDHIPFgH
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 16, 2017
Though other players showed up bigger in terms of points scored, no player had as big an impact overall on the game as the do-it-all forward. In the end, Green put up a stat line that shows his value.
Draymond Green was a monster today
So valuable to the Warriors
— Ball Lord (@TheBallLord) April 16, 2017
Of course, this isn’t anything new. All one has to do is take a trip back to last year in the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers when Green earned his suspension to see what kind of impact he has on Golden State. Without him in Game 5 — up 3-1 at that time — the Warriors couldn’t hang onto the precious momentum they’d built up to win their second straight Finals over LeBron James and the Cavs.
As long as Green can keep his cool and avoid letting his emotions get the better of him this postseason, there’s no reason to think the Warriors won’t be knocking on the door once again with their third Finals trip in as many years.